Nimzowitsch explained in a central chapter of his positional masterpiece, “My System,” how to conduct a game with an Isolated Queen’s Pawn. The IQP is fundamental to the understanding of positional play, and some simple rules of thumb will help you with or against one. The IQP can be a fantastic attacking resource, as it can anchor pieces in the center, or be used as a battering ram to soften up your opponents position. Kasparov demonstrated this with his use of the Tarrasch defense. However, the IQP is also a weak point. Because it is isolated from the protection of a pawn chain, it must be protected by pieces. This leads to the conclusion that exchanging pieces off when you have an IQP is a bad idea, since you will be rushing into an endgame where you likely won’t be able to hold onto your pawn. Thus, if you have an IQP, avoid exchanges, and if your opponent has one, try to force them. The following game elucidates this concept clearly.
“One who is afraid to play with an isolated queen pawn should give up chess.” –Tarrasch
The following game, chosen from this game collection, demonstrates the strength of the IQP as an attacking asset.